In a previous post I mentioned some wishes for the final version of Boot Camp for Apple Mac Pro. One of them was better support for multiple graphics cards.

Since I had an old unused 15″ TFT I decided to ask directly at the Apple Boot Camp forums about support for ATI X 1900 XT and a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT. I didn’t get a 100% confirmation that it would work but I went ahead and bought the graphics card. In case it would not work then the graphics card would go on sale on eBay.

NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT

The card arrived in a box without any fancy pictures on. I’m used to seeing boxes with fancy NVIDIA or ATI/AMD logos and images but then again, this is another market and the card can not be bought in a store so not a real surprise. But I was a bit surprised to see that it came with out CD or any instructions. All I found was some papers about world wide 1 year guarantee and then a sheet: For installation see the documentation that came with the computer. It also came without any bundled games but again, that was not expected.

So I went to Apple’s support site and found some documentation, all very simple.

Installing

Open Mac Pro (No screws), lay it down and remove the holder for the PCI express cards (No screws). Plug the card it. Connect it and turn the Mac on. This is how hardware installation should be.

Screen setup

I’m now using a setup with 3 TFT screens. From left to right: 17″ Sony SDM-S71 (1280×1024), 24″ Dell 2407WFP (Rotated 90 degrees, 1200×1920) and the old 15″ Philips 151AX (1024×768). The plan was to have the 17″ as primary screen.

OS X 10.4 (Tiger)

The new graphics card was detected right away and when I booted I got a window with the settings for the PCI Express lanes, I had just added it to slot 3 but with this I was not able to get more than 1-wide lane. So I moved it to slot 4 and was able to get 8 lanes. The main ATI card is using the 16 lane PCI slot.

I was able to setup the 3 screens as I planned, took 15 minutes to align them in the system preferences so that the mouse moves correct from screen to screen.

Windows XP

I was worried about getting the graphics cards working with Windows XP but this turned out to be without reason. Windows detected the graphics card right away but found no drivers for it. These are on the Windows driver CD that Boot Camp creates, so I was able to install these.

The primary screen was set to the 15″ to start with, but I just disabled the 15″ and the task bar moved over to the 17″ and all worked fine.

Rotating the 24″ monitor went without problems with the NVIDIA control panel. Alignment was as easy as under OS X.

UltraMon

Just wanted to mention this great little tool, a must have if you use multiple monitors. It allows you to move windows between monitors with a single click, resize to cover all monitors (taking into account that monitors does not have same height). It also allows for the task bar to be shown on all monitors. I have it setup so the task bar pr monitor only shows the applications that is running on that monitor.

There is also support for wall paper and screen savers, which can be defined pr monitor. Having 3 different screen savers did fail for me and only one was shown; not a problem for me as I never have screen savers enabled anyway.

Verdict

I had no problems with adding the extra graphics and also no problems with setting the screens up as I wanted. So now I got a rather nice setup, especially for when I’m programming. Having the source code on the 24″ rotated screen is amazing. Really wonder why I never tried that.

Having the 17″ screen as primary is perfect, as it allows games to be played on that. Also great for when working, as the game we are working on will show up on this screen and not cover the editor.

Just wondering what I should use the last output for… One more 24″ or is that over doing it…

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  1. Pingback: Monitors on My Mind, I need a Square Monitor

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